UMW in Guatemala | Grass-Roots Development

UMW in Guatemala

Grass-Roots Development


Program Dates

March 1 — March 10

Spring Break 2019


Program Fees


$500 deposit due upon registration.
$650 payment due December 15, 2018.
Final $695 due January 15, 2019.


  • Round-trip airfare
  • Airport transfers and ground transportation
  • Housing and accommodations
  • All meals
  • Guided tours
  • International health insurance
  • UMW Education Abroad fee

NOT Included

  • UMW tuition (may be included in your spring 2018 course load)
  • Personal expenses
  • Supplemental meals or snacks
  • Souvenirs
  • Immunizations
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Health Information

International travel may require immunizations or preventative medicines. Please refer to the US Center for Disease Control’s Traveler’s Health Information Page for Guatemala for recommendations. The UMW Health Center provides free travel consultations by appointment, as well as travel information for UMW students. The Center for International Education recommends that each student have a personalized medical consultation prior to international travel.

This program includes moderate hiking through uneven terrain.

Led by Dr. Dawn Bowen and Dr. Marco Millones Mayer of the Department of Geography, this spring break trip focuses on community development and cloud forest conservation, ecological understanding, traditional Maya ecological practices, and innovative agro-ecological techniques. These initiatives can address social needs, create economic opportunity, and build food security. The program takes place in Guatemala City, Coban, and mountain communities along the Sierra Yalijux. For more information about the NGO whose work will be explored, visit the Community Cloud Forest Conservation website. When you take part in this experience, you will have the opportunity to:

  • Visit the agro-ecology center with scholarship recipients.
  • Explore development projects introduced by a local NGO where an effort has been made to improve food security through agro-ecology.
  • Experience the daily lives of the Maya through a two-night home-stay. Visit the cloud forest, Guatemala’s high-altitude rain forest, habitat for many species of indigenous flora and fauna.


For most of the trip, students will stay in rooms at the agroecology center. Meals will be provided at the center or out in the community. Students will also experience a two-night home-stay with a Maya family.


Students will earn 3 credits for GEOG 360E. The course focuses on:

  • Demonstrating efforts in community cloud forest conservation;
  • Developing ecological understanding;
  • Reviving Maya ecological practices;
  • Experimenting with innovative agro-ecological techniques that can address social needs and build food security.

Class will meet weekly throughout the spring semester. Classes will discuss relevant readings on community organization, development, food security issues, agro-ecology, and health. Four short papers will be due prior to the trip, with a journal during the trip, a final paper, and an oral presentation following the trip. This course satisfies the Experiential Learning general education requirement.

Requirements & Prerequisites

There are no prerequisites for this program, but students must contact Dr. Bowen for an application to participate. Students must maintain a minimum 2.0 GPA in order to participate. This program is open to all UMW students regardless of major or year of study.


Faculty-Led Program Scholarships are available to UMW students (deadlines apply).


See the program fees and payment due dates in the right column. Use the Make a Payment button below to pay your deposit and regular program payment. Use the Special Payment option to pay a special amount (such as additional insurance or payment in a different amount as a result of a scholarship award).

Online payees have the choice of either credit card or eCheck payment. Credit card payments will incur a 2.75% service fee. There is no service charge for eCheck payments.

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